Monday, October 29, 2012

Thank you for the compliment

I am not very gracious. I want to be, but I have not yet mastered the art of accepting a compliment. For some reason, I panic when somebody compliments me. If I just accept the compliment, that makes me seem like I am vain. Stupid. Or, if I agree with them, I must be agreeing that I am better than anyone else at whatever they have just complimented me on. Also stupid. When I compliment somebody else, I mean what I say. It doesn't always mean I think that person is the best in the world at that specific talent. It doesn't mean that nobody else has that talent as well. It means that they have a talent or attribute that benefits those around them, and I appreciate it. I should assume the same of others when they compliment me.

Here are some examples of compliments that I have received and how badly I have received them.

Friend: You play the piano nicely.
Me: Didn't you hear all my mistakes? or My brother/mom/sisters/friend is way better.
What I should say: Thank you. I really like to play the piano, even if I don't practice as much as I should. (Or just, thank you.)

Friend: You sure have lost your baby weight fast.
Me: I still have ten pounds to go. or It doesn't seem that fast to me. or I USED to be way skinnier.
What I should say: Thank you. Losing weight is hard for me.

Kid: Your bum is really big and chubby.
Me: No, it's not.
What I should say: Thank you. I didn't even get implants! That extra slice of cake every night has really paid off!

Kid: You're the meanest mom in the universe!
Me: No, I'm not. There are way meaner moms.
What I should say: Thank you. I try really hard, and I appreciate that you have noticed.

Friend: You are a good writer.
Me: I'm not as good at writing as Shari/Chris/Emily/Jane Austen/Shannon Hale/Julie Berry/Georgette Heyer/etc.
What I should say: Thank you. I really like to write.

Friend: Your house is really cute.
Me: I HATED it when we first moved in.
What I should say: Thank you.

Friend: Your kids are really smart.
Me: But they have ADHD/rage issues/social problems/etc.
What I should say: Thank you. They are smart.

Friend: You can sing well.
Me: But didn't you hear that wrong note? or But I can't sing well enough to sing solos. or Kathy/Anna/my siblings and cousins/Shari/Amy/almost anyone is way better than I am.
What I should say: Thank you. I really like to sing.

Friend: I like your hair.
Me: I hate it like this! or But don't you see all these weird hairs sticking out? or But don't you see how crooked I cut my bangs?
What I should say: Thank you.

Friend: Your house is so clean.
Me: No, it's not. or Just don't look in the bedrooms. or Don't you see the giant pile of junk on the kitchen counter?
What I should say: Thank you. It's hard to even get my house this clean with four kids.

Friend: Your kids are cute.
Me: But they are too chubby/too skinny/have a giant noggin/have weird hair/are always losing their pants and showing their bum/etc.
What I should say: Thank you. They are very cute.

Friend: You look pretty.
Me: (and this is one of my hardest ones) No, I don't. or But look at my terrible skin. or But someone else, anyone else looks better. or My hair is weird today. or But my pants are way too tight, and my belly hangs over. (This one can be solved by giving in and buying some bigger pants...)
What I should say: Thank you.

Friend: You are smart.
Me: I'm not that smart. or I used to be smarter before I had kids. or I don't feel that smart. or I'm not even all the way finished with college. 
What I should say: Thank you.

I may not be extremely talented at anything, but it doesn't mean I don't have any talents at all. Now, I just have to learn to use those talents that I do have to do more good. And if somebody notices, I shouldn't try harder to hide my candle under a bushel. Because that would start a fire. Plus, I don't really even know what a bushel is. So, maybe I'm not really that smart...

Whose jokes are better?

Carter: I woke up, and I felt weird, but I didn't know why I felt weird. But I just noticed that I felt weird because it felt like I woke up at a hotel.

That explains a lot.

My kids finally decided what they want to be for Halloween. Little Red Riding Hood Vampire, Werewolf, and Zombie Woodcutter. Sadie's going to be  a purple unicorn because my sister gave us the costume. She doesn't really fit in with the theme the other kids are going for.

Carter likes my mom's Halloween jokes:

So what is the mummy's favorite kind of music?  I think it's "wrap".
Why was the ghost arrested by the game warden?  He didn't have a haunting license.
What is Dracula's favorite place to visit in New York?  The Vampire State Building.
What is the ghost's favorite street to go down?  A dead end.
Where in the country do goblins most like to live?  In North and South Scarolina.
What does a little monster call his parents?  Mummy and deady.
What is the scariest thing that can happen after Halloween?  Obama getting re-elected!  Aaaaugh!
What's a ghost's favorite food?  Boo-berries.
Why did the doctor look at the vampire's throat?  Because of the coffin.

Here are Carter's jokes:

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Freep who?
Gross. Nobody wants your free poo.

What's an ant's favorite clothes?
Pants. That's why they always say you have ants in your pants.

What's Ferb's favorite month?

What's a ghost's favorite kind of bird?
A BOO-bird.

Why did the fly fly?
Because the spider spied her...

What's a dachshund's favorite time of year?
Halloweenie time.

What's a hot dog's least favorite food?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Root of the Word

Bill was going through Carter's spelling list, asking the kids to spell the words and seeing if they knew what the words mean. Carter is learning words with Latin and Greek roots, and this week's words include number prefixes. Bill asked, "What do you think quintessence means?" Preston answered, "Like five kids? Or if twins turned five, then they would be quins." Carter responded, "Probably a kind of toothpaste."

Later, we were reading scriptures, and we read something that said, "I am Alpha and Omega."

Bill: What do you think of when you hear the word Alpha? (He was going for alphabet so he could explain that alpha was the beginning and omega was the end of a different alphabet.)
Avery: I don't know.
Bill: What about you, Preston? What does Alpha make you think of?
Preston: A dog.
Bill: What other word does it sound like?
Preston: Maybe alfalfa. You know, hay is just dried alfalfa.
Bill: What do you think of when you hear the word Alpha?
Carter: I don't think anything. I don't even know what it means.
Bill: Well, what word does is sound like?
Carter: Alvin and the Chipmunks?

I thought of the alpha male of a wolf pack. Okay, a werewolf pack. I read too many paranormal books.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Well, it looks like nursing has come to an end. I had cut down to just a couple times at night. Last night, both times I tried to nurse, after about five minutes, Sadie pulled off, shook her head, and said, "Bobble." So it's over. She knows what she wants at ten months.

Carter is learning about rocks at school. Last week, after he had returned to school after our Moab trip, Bill asked what his teacher said when he told her about his trip and all the rocks and fossils that he saw. Carter replied that she didn't say anything. "She didn't respond when you talked to her?" I asked. "Well, she responded, but she didn't say 'That's cool' or anything like that," Carter answered.

I spent $500 at Target today. Then I came home and filled one of the bags with all the stuff I am going to return.

Whenever one of my kids says that one of the other kids "hit me as hard as they could!" it just doesn't have the effect on me that they are going for. I am pretty certain that the other kid could hit way harder if they tried.

We have a graveyard by our front door. It's pretty spooky, but nobody ever comes to our house, so my kids are the only ones who get to see it. So now YOU know that we have a cool graveyard. It's Halloween-y.

Avery is scared of school pictures tomorrow.

Preston looked through the toys-r-us magazine that came the other day. He was looking to find things that he wanted for his birthday. He told me a few things. Then he went to bed. I thought he was asleep. But about an hour later, he called out, "So, are you still thinking about what you're going to get me?"

Obviously, he was thinking about it.

My sister brought her dog to my backyard while she went shopping a few days ago. Sadie watched him the whole time. The next day, she kept watching that window saying, "Puh-puh. Oof-oof." Then she did it again today. It's kind of sad.

An update on that European chocolate that my brother brought me: It all had nuts. (He was in a hurry, so he didn't read the labels.) But everyone else liked it.

If I remember what Carter said at dinner, I'll put it on my next post. It's the whole reason I even sat down to write, but it left my mind, and it doesn't seem to want to re-enter my memory. And it was so funny, too. I walked by a mirror a little while ago and saw that my mascara had run from the tears of laughter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Arches and Vacuums

Me: Preston, stop spanking my bum.
Preston: (giggling) I can't help it. It's so funny because it just wobbles sooo much!

We are now in the stage where we hear a loud thud or bonk followed by a cry many times a day. She just can't stand as well as she thinks she can.

Who knew my nine-year-old and seven-year-old boys would have so much fun playing vacuum tag. They giggled and squealed whenever I pretended I was going to get them with the vacuum.

Bill is on the way to the airport to pick up my brother. He is coming to the U.S. for my grandpa's funeral.

Incidentally, I am in the market for some really good waterproof mascara. Cry-proof mascara.

Bill bought the kids some Garfield comic books at a used book store the other day. They can't stop laughing when they are reading them. It seems like I thought Garfield was funny when I was a kid. Now, I have no idea what I thought was so funny.

Preston was so embarrassed to admit the name of  book that he was reading. It was There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom.

Sadie frequently says, "da-da" and stares at the door for several minutes, usually when she has heard a car door or other sound outside. She has been disappointed every time.

We went to Arches National Park on Saturday. The kids loved the hiking and exploring. I also noticed that there are tons of inappropriate rock formations. Am I the only one who has noticed that?

When we were about two hours into our drive down to Moab, we realized that we had forgotten to pack the portable crib. We did not go back to get it. We tried having her sleep in a closet, but a few seconds later, she was out in the family room. That happened three times. The next day, we bought a new one. And it was the ONLY one in the store, and it was on the top shelf, and when I got it down, it fell on me.

We had tiny shell pasta tonight, so I gave some to Sadie. I think she would have given me an award for the most awesome mom ever. She loved it!

I just put her to bed, and she is so mad at me right now. I guess it's back to the meanest mom in the universe for me.

The vacuum has been sitting at the bottom of the stairs for the last two hours. Every time I walk by, it freaks me out because it looks like there is a person standing there. I should put it away.

I hope my brother brings me some really good European chocolate. I would eat it all, probably in a day or two. I wouldn't want to deny Preston the joy of spanking my wobbly bum by losing any weight...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Real Superhero

I had about a hundred things to write about. I have been laughing so much the last few days. But the last few minutes, I have had a broken heart just thinking about my cute funny grandpa that is not expected to make it much longer. He is just the kind of person who is a true inspiration. So, here is a sad, sort of funny story about him. Hopefully, I get the details right.

My parents went to visit him one day. He was living at an assisted living home about a mile from their house. His Parkinson's disease was affecting him quite a bit. He often had angels visiting him or telling him where some money was hidden or other such things. Well, this day, when they came to visit him, he had been terrified that someone was coming to kill him. He had hidden, or tried to hide, behind a couch in the front room. Quite a feat for someone who lost the use of one arm in WWII as well as being lately confined to a wheelchair. He was back in his room by the time they arrived, and he was very upset about the guys who were coming to kill him. My dad asked him why anyone would want to kill him. He answered that it was because he had killed so many people. My dad asked if he had killed these people in the war. He answered that when he was in France, he didn't shoot anyone; he just shot into the air because he didn't want to kill anyone. So, he let them shoot him instead. My dad asked, "Well, when did you kill all the people?" He said, "With my laser eyes. I look out that window, and I kill everyone who is driving by. They keep getting into wrecks. I've killed thousands of people with my laser eyes."

Funny. And sad. Nothing like the guy who came close to winning the doubles ping pong championship of 2002. They beat two other teams only to lose to my awesome husband and his wife. Nothing like the guy who used to cheat at basketball in his driveway. Nothing like the guy who taught me how to butcher meat, thus ensuring that I would never look at raw meat again. Nothing like the guy who showed me that old people can still laugh at bodily functions and potty humor. Or the guy who always took out his teeth to freak us out. (Preston did try those teeth on once, when they were sitting in a cup in the bathroom.)

Preston has some posters in his room with heroes like George Washington, Joseph of Egypt, and Captain Moroni. The posters say, "Who's your hero?" He wanted a superhero room, and I didn't just want Marvel comic superheroes. I wanted real men that he could look up to.

But my grandpa is a superhero to me and to all those who have been blessed to know him. I can imagine him having super powers, like laser eyes. So, the next time someone talks about laser eyes, I will be thinking about the thousands of people that my grandpa killed and wondering how the government hushed the whole thing up so well. Maybe Preston needs one more poster.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just Because

Have you ever noticed the small print on the commercials for Allstate?

"Not available in all states..."

One of those commercials came on the other day. Preston said, "Oooh, this is going to be funny. They're going to suddenly talk in a low voice."

I turned on Pete's Dragon for a few minutes to show my kids a movie I had seen as a kid. Carter couldn't believe it when Elliott first became visible. "That's so weird! It's just a drawn dragon. That's funny. I can't even watch this! I'm used to computer generated things, but that dragon is just drawn! It doesn't even look real! How can they stand to make such a bad dragon? Why did they think that would even look good? It's just drawn!" (Of course, he didn't want to stop watching it when it was time for bed.)

Me: You can't pull on my arm that hard.
Avery: Why not?
Me: Sometimes that shoulder comes out of place. (I then explained how shoulders work and showed her using my hand and my fist how it can sometimes slip out.)
Avery: Ohhh, that would be bad.
Me: Yes. It hurts a lot when that happens, and it would be hard to take care of Sadie.
Avery: And it would be hard to kiss Daddy. Because if you kiss him for a long time, you have to hold on tight. And you couldn't do that if your shoulder comes out.

Well, she's right, I guess.

I tried to take a little nap before I picked up the kids from school today. Carter stayed home because he wasn't feeling very well, and he was watching a movie on the ipad in my room. I woke up a couple of minutes into the nap because he was hysterical. I thought he had gotten hurt. It turned out that he was laughing so hard that he was crying. Because the guy in the movie was tooting pixie dust. Nine year old boy....

Sadie laughed and waved at her reflection today. Because she was wearing a Hello Kitty hat. Thank you, Target.

My parents went to Europe to visit my brother. They went to a little church that we had visited five or six months ago when we went out there. We had been looking for some of our ancestors' names in the cemeteries and churches in a few tiny villages in France. We had entered one of the churches, hoping to find some new information, when I accidentally broke a vase. We tried to clean it up the best that we could, but there was no trash bin, so we gathered the pieces into the corner where people would be less likely to hurt themselves on the glass. It turns out that we got the glass out of the way enough that months later, when they returned to the church, it was still there in the corner...